The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

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The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:38 am

Honestly, I've seen Luke throwing this term around. Apparently fearing them and thinking they are legit.
But I cannot understand why.


First, let me quote a topic that I've written some time ago.
Today I want to talk about something, that made me angry several times already.


FAN-GAMES

First of all what are fan-games?
They are fan-made games of established franchises.
Made by fans, who want to express their dedication and love for the franchise in question.
Most of the time, they are poorly done. Since fans don't have enough time and patience to make a really good game.
But in some cases, fans actually have the tenacity and patience to see things through to the end.
And the results are some awesome games, that can actually rival the quality of official games.

Last, but not least, FAN-GAMES ARE FAN-ART!
The images are moving and you can interact with the world, instead of seeing a world through a static image.
But the motives behind the making of fan-games, are pretty much the same as why people take the pencil and draw their favourite characters on paper.
To express the dedication and love they put into the franchises they support.



Unfortunately, the really good fan-games are often the ones that are targetted by the companies.
In many cases, companies force fan-game creators to cancel their project, or face a financial breakdown or life in jail.

Why do they do that?
Because they don't see Fan-Games as Fan-Art that people create to express their love and dedication (what Fan-Games truly are), but as UNWANTED COMPETITION!
The fact that "Programming-n00bs" can create good games as well apparently doesn't suit their world view.
And so they do anything to oppress fan-games, save for the poorly made ones (since they aren't a "threat" and thus not worth their attention).

And I mean seriously, CAN IT GET EVEN MORE DICTATORIAL?!?
They basicly try to remove what they don't like and use their deep pockets to ensure that they always get what they want.
And seemingly, they are even willing to destroy people's lives, by breaking them down financially or put them in jail.
Only because they wanted to express their love and dedication.
And that, my friends, is just INHUMANE! In fact, such creatures shouldn't be called "human" anymore.
They are more like "offsprings of the devil" or something...

They basicly trample in humans and their rights if they have to, only for their own well-being without disturbances.
That's just PERVERTED!!!



That being said though, I DON'T THINK that companies would seriously attempt a trial.
Since if it would come to that, the news of that event would spread like wildfire. Thanks for the modern days of the internet.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, the reputation of the company would be seriously damaged.
And a damaged reputation results in a breakdown in income.
And I don't think that any company would seriously want to risk that.
It's just too much of a risk, if you ask me.

So I think C&D's are generally nothing but hot air.
But they work well, since people can be intimidated quite easily.
Especially if a big company threatens them with a lawyer.
An effective way to induce fear and force people to quit and end their role as "unwanted competition".


Which is why I would like people to NOT TAKE THE THREATS SERIOUSLY!
TAKE A STAND AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
Tell them about your motives, why you want to make the game.
And that you DO NOT intend to ruin the company, but rather CONTRIBUTE to it.

Of course, it would a great thing, if you could talk to employee's of the company about your game.
But threats shouldn't be taken seriously.
While it may be understandable that they make you afraid, you should try and IGNORE THEM AND MOVE ON!
I would seriously love to see what happens, if someone doesn't give in and instead has the balls to stand up and see it through.

A reply that I just felt like quoting:
Last, but not least, FAN-GAMES ARE FAN-ART!
The images are moving and you can interact with the world, instead of seeing a world through a static image.
But the motives behind the making of fan-games, are pretty much the same as why people take the pencil and draw their favourite characters on paper.
I think that this is a very important point that everyone should remember.
Yet, you'd never see a company try to shut down a fan art site... or, if they did, the artists should give them the finger and just carry on.

This is an issue of freedom of expression. Free fan-games aren't infringing on anything; at least, not any more than somebody who doodles fan-art in his notebook during recess. It's a shame that those developpers aren't willing to continue their work and defend their rights.

Sadly, I'm not sure whether the law agrees or not (and if it doesn't, it's wrong, because this is just common sense). I think that developpers of such games should either: a)reveal their games when they're so complete that it's too late for the company to do anything, or b), continue them in secret if they're told to stop, and leak them on the internet when they're done.



At least here in Germany, I can safely assume that companies would never succeed in a trial with this.
Since our law allows the use of copyrighted content, as long as it's for free use and properly credited.
And I am sure it's not much different in other civilized countries.
OF course, being in the right and getting the right are two different things. But still...


As in reply to Luke:
There is no need to go into the cellar every time you want to express entertainment!
It's exhausting.

Nah, but seriously. Don't get so anxious and see things more logically. Razz
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by .Luke on Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:17 pm

It really depends on what franchise you're making a fan game of. SEGA lets Sonic fan games slide all the time, (In fact, they've positively acknowledged Sonic Retro before, and that site hosts tons of Sonic rom hacks, as well as fan games!) and George Lucas looks at anything Starwars-related made by fans as free advertising, but start development on a Nintendo based series, like Starfox, you might get burned. J.K Rowling speaks out against fan fiction of the Harry Potter series, too; she and other IP holders were one of the reasons a once-major fan fiction site was taken down. Now all that's left is FanFiction.Net. You just have to know the nature of what's acceptable in any fan base, really.

And it's true that they're misunderstood. They are interactive works of art in motion, and I don't see a direct legal issue with them, but IP owners do have some legal standing if you use copyrighted materials that you weren't supposed to distribute with the game; (I don't know if Germany really is that relaxed on copyrighted material or not, but the rest of the world certainly isn't.) so it helps to use as many of your own original resources as possible, and the game benefits from a refreshing new look anyway, like SRB2. It's a full-length Sonic game that's been in development for over a decade and they haven't heard anything from SEGA even once. I know I mention cite it a lot, but SRB2's a shining example of how fan games should be handled in many ways, whether you find the game itself enjoyable or not.

Another huge problem is when some fan devs don't do enough to distinguish their fan game from official works. I see a lot of crappy fan games carelessly slap a Nintendo or SEGA logo in their game to look more "authentic", without a disclaimer explaining it's just a fan game; generally that pisses companies off because you can easily misrepresent the quality or universe of a franchise to whoever plays it. (Just like making a fake bootleg Ferrari to sell at the price of the real thing, and then the new owner assumes all real Ferrari's are garbage that never start; deceptive-advertising at its best.) Disclaimers in-game that can't be disabled externally alleviate this problem automatically. That way pirates can't sell it and everyone knows it's fan-made; you're almost golden at that point.

I also remember talking to SSNTails one time through private messages, and he brought up that exactly. His own fan site was taken down by SEGA only because it looked official and could be mistaken as one, otherwise he would have been fine if it was clearly labeled as a fan site.

So no, I'm not afraid of making fan games. I've seen it all, and been in the fan game making scene since I was twelve; I don't know everything, but I'm certainly not paranoid about the finer legal details either. I'm always far less afraid of anything the more I know something about it.

Because it's totally related to this topic:

And Paragon, we have a trash bin for topics you want to throw away; just because they're deleted doesn't mean they're really "gone", if you know what I mean. Do I need to make a staff-only trash bin just for really bad posts?
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:31 pm

I think you misunderstand what I am saying.

I am not talking about the mentality of the companies.
I am saying that C&D's solely rely on fear and pressure to get people to take down unwanted content, but have no legal basis.
Go to a trial with this, and they will most likely fail.

I stick by this: As long as content is for free use and credited properly, it's legit use. Period.
It's just that the companies do not want to see fans creating games that rival the quality of their own official games.
That's why the take the bat and use it to get rid of unwanted stuff.
Which is pure nazism, if you ask me.


Like my friend said in the quote above: It's a matter of freedom of expression.
Free fan-games are equally law-infringing as drawn sketches of VG-characters.
No matter how you try to twist it, that's how it is.
Cuz after all, Fan-games ARE Fan Art. I can't repeat that enough times.

And if you try to get rid of any unwanted fan-games, you basicly get rid of Fan Art.
Which is wrong. And this should be just common sense.
Regardless of how the laws in different countries are.
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by .Luke on Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:09 am

Well this thread fell into Godwin's Law pretty quickly, I wasn't expecting that! =P

Paragon-Yoshi wrote:Like my friend said in the quote above: It's a matter of freedom of expression.
Free fan-games are equally law-infringing as drawn sketches of VG-characters.
No matter how you try to twist it, that's how it is.
Cuz after all, Fan-games ARE Fan Art. I can't repeat that enough times.

This kind of makes me think about the legality of fan art. It might be a grey area to some, but so long as you made the drawing itself without using any copyrighted/official materials, (Like an official vectors, or just editing promo art.) the drawing/art/vector/model/painting is © to you. The only thing you don't own about it are the rights to the characters for commercial use, so as long as it isn't sold, there isn't much anyone can say about it.

The same really applies to fan games; just use your own code/engine/resources/music, and it's fine. And if it's a "competing product", then companies should be taking notes so they're own games stop tanking in the market. Listening to input from fans is usually a bad thing, (Developers, for the most part, know what direction a series should go in better than the fans. Not listening to the complaints of play testers was a huge bet for the first Metroid, but it paid off.) but sometimes the more-inspired fans can change a franchise for the better. They makeup a fair chunk of the people buying those games after all, so it doesn't hurt to listen to a supportive customer's criticism, especially in the form of a working, playable example created by fans.

Paragon-Yoshi wrote:I stick by this: As long as content is for free use and credited properly, it's legit use. Period.

It might be okay in Germany, but here in the United States, IP holders have a lot more control over copyrighted materials, but the laws are relatively passive, and there are still many forms of "fair use". If you see someone misusing artwork that's copyrighted to you, for instance, you can submit a complaint to the FBI and they'll investigate the legitimacy of your claim so you can take it to court, if necessary. So the Government itself isn't going to sue infringers for you, despite what some recently killed bills like SOPA want it to do. (The US Government is already weighed down with enough useless programs, it doesn't need even more resources stolen away from our defenses and research just to dictorially slap every little kid who makes a crayon Samus doodle for the fridge, IMO.)

However, it's entirely up to IP holders to decide if they want to exercise their rights or not. Some are okay with infringers like Sonic Retro, (Hosting fan games built with reverse-engineered copies of Sonic Team's own game engines and artwork, for instance.) and some are not. When an IP holder creates something, they have a right to protect it from being misused, and personally I'm fine with that setup, even if it's getting antiquated and needs an update. It's just when proposed bills like SOPA that want the Government itself to "protect" intellectual property, (Which it can't do, realistically, I don't know what Hollywood's thinking.) whether the creator is okay with it or not, that ruffles my feathers.

Also, the whole "free use" thing would have to have lots of strings attached, otherwise it would open the door to rampant piracy of commercial works. Laws like Copyright are in place for a reason, not so much to protect ideas, (That's what patents are for.) but your exclusive right to produce copies of something you created. Fan games made 100% from scratch will always be fine, but anything with sprite rips or even copyrighted code may constantly find themselves in the grey area. Granted, miminal usage of official resources like that could fall under Fair Use, but I'm not really sure; I'd like to hear more of your opinion on that subject.
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:31 pm

There is nothing much for me to add.

IMO, as long as everything is properly credited and for free use, even sprite rips and stuff should be allowed for use.
And it's just not right to unfairly limit the freedom of fan artists like that.

And creating fan-games with sprite rips =/= Piracy

Piracy means taking an official product and distributing it elsewhere for free and stuff.
(Unless it's already free to begin with.)
Creating fan-games of any sort does not equal piracy. Unless maybe the re-create the EXACT SAME GAME with NO ALTERNATIONS!

For example: Streets of Rage Remake wasn't just a copy of any SOR-game, it was an amalgamation of all three SOR-games, along with many new and original features, as well as updated sprites for the SOR1 chars and enemies.
It wasn't the same game, so therefore it SHOULD BE a legit fan-game.

But Sega of course had to use that unfair, resident-adversarial part of copyright-law and got it banned.
And believe me, it had NOTHING to do with "protecting their copyright" (given that they abandoned SOR ages ago), but they just did it out of pure jealously.
Which perfectly goes to show how easily this law can be abused. And that can't be right.


I stick by it:
As long as the engine is not directly taken from official games and everything else at least made in an original way as well as everything properly credited and for free use, it should be a legit fan-game, regardless of sprite-rips, music rips or whatever else.
Anything else is just wrong. You cannot tell me otherwise.


Also WTF do you mean with "Godwin's Law".
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by Maetch on Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:42 pm

Paragon-Yoshi wrote:For example: Streets of Rage Remake wasn't just a copy of any SOR-game, it was an amalgamation of all three SOR-games, along with many new and original features, as well as updated sprites for the SOR1 chars and enemies.
It wasn't the same game, so therefore it SHOULD BE a legit fan-game.

But Sega of course had to use that unfair, resident-adversarial part of copyright-law and got it banned.
And believe me, it had NOTHING to do with "protecting their copyright" (given that they abandoned SOR ages ago), but they just did it out of pure jealously.
Which perfectly goes to show how easily this law can be abused. And that can't be right.
If they were truly serious about protecting their copyright, SEGA would've killed SoRR before it even begun production. Instead, SEGA let the final version of the game get released for about a week before they pulled the C&D. By then, it had already spread across the internet and beyond their ability to stop. One of the people who made the game thinks this was intentional on SEGA's part to let SoRR get released while protecting their corporate image at the same time.

But seriously, I don't think petty jealousy is fully at blame here. Whether what they do is fair or not, SEGA is still a business, and businesses have to do things by the rules. They probably don't like sending those C&Ds any more than people like getting them, but they've got no real choice in the matter.

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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by .Luke on Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:57 pm

So companies, by law, are required to hand out Cease and Desist letters? That's something I'd want to look into, I never thought it could actually work like that in business.

Paragon-Yoshi wrote:And creating fan-games with sprite rips =/= Piracy

Piracy means taking an official product and distributing it elsewhere for free and stuff.
(Unless it's already free to begin with.)
Creating fan-games of any sort does not equal piracy. Unless maybe the re-create the EXACT SAME GAME with NO ALTERNATIONS!

What I meant was that if being allowed to distribute something copyrighted freely was possible, anyone could say, "I made this rom image of an old game and released it for free on the Internet, so what are you suing me for? I didn't sell it at all, in fact, I lost money on bandwidth to host it! SEGA got all the credit, everybody knows I didn't make the game.". There would have to be a ton of guidelines for what's considered acceptable to prevent extreme cases like that from happening, but then again, that's what "Fair Use" kinda is now.
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by BossFight on Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:49 pm

Not sure how the law works, but I know CT Reborn got a C&D as soon as its first video was released. I also know the many Mario fangames have never gotten a C&D, and neither has URA Zelda as of yet.

What I don't get is why companies don't just buy the fan games if they're good enough to throw a C&D at. I also don't really get why people spend so much time, effort, and skill at a fan game they make no money off of. Like SSF2, he could have spent 4 years on gis own creation instead and priffiting.
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Re: The thing about Fan-Games and C&D'S

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:15 pm

.Luke wrote:So companies, by law, are required to hand out Cease and Desist letters? That's something I'd want to look into, I never thought it could actually work like that in business.

I don't think he meant it that way. And if he did, I'd say it's absurd.
Sega is a company that has free control over what they are doing.

What he probably meant, is that the order came from the higher-up's from Sega to ban SORR and the ones who did carry it out, had to do it, even tho they were fine with SORR.
But in the end, the C&D order still came from Sega. Regardless of who is calling the shots.
Therefore, it is still right to criticise them.


What I meant was that if being allowed to distribute something copyrighted freely was possible, anyone could say, "I made this rom image of an old game and released it for free on the Internet, so what are you suing me for? I didn't sell it at all, in fact, I lost money on bandwidth to host it! SEGA got all the credit, everybody knows I didn't make the game.". There would have to be a ton of guidelines for what's considered acceptable to prevent extreme cases like that from happening, but then again, that's what "Fair Use" kinda is now.
Sorry, but that is absurd.
You cannot compare fan-games to ROMs and ISO-images.
They are entirely different things.

ROM images are a direct copy of the game. Fans didn't make the game, but just changed the shape.
That is infringing. No doubt about that.

but fan-games are created differently. They are not copies of already existing games. They are games made from scratch or with a certain engine.
In both cases, work was spent into the actual game and, provided the result is not a 1-to-1 re-creation of an official game, is a legit game.

That's the difference!


What I don't get is why companies don't just buy the fan games if they're good enough to throw a C&D at. I also don't really get why people spend so much time, effort, and skill at a fan game they make no money off of. Like SSF2, he could have spent 4 years on gis own creation instead and priffiting.
Because those people have the right mentality.

They see Video Games as art and as hobby to enjoy on their free time.
They don't need to make money out of it. Creating a game, treating it with love and perfecting it is all they need to do.

The exact mentality that I expect from official companies as well. (Minus the hobby-part of course)
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